Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea
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Nutmeg, honey, pastry aroma. Balanced, sweet/savory character. Green leafy vegetable and mild curry notes. Clean, subtle spicy finish.
Garden: This tea comes from a certified organic tea farm in the remote Yushan High Mountain Tea growing region in southern Nantou County, Taiwan. It is an isolated plot of tea deep in the Yushan Mountain range, offering ideal climate conditions. We brought this batch of tea to our friend in Lugu to lightly roast. It's an exemplary batch of naturally farmed tea.
Harvest: Hand-picked, small batch, winter 2021
Our current batch of Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea is from the This batch is from the primary plot this tea farm, bordering the national park land of the highest peak in east Asia. The tea trees on this farm have adjusted to organic living, and just in the few past years have been producing well.
This crop of tea is the most recent growth picked from new branches on the trees that were allowed to grow since last summer. These leaves were also affected by the Green Leafhopper, and other pests. This is inevitable, given that this is an organic farm and the summer months are most susceptible to bugs!
This batch of tea was processed similarly to a High Mountain Tea. These leaves require extra manipulation due to their natural "toughness" as a result of not being the tender new growth immediately following a previous harvest or pruning.
What these leaves have to offer as a result of the relatively slow, natural growing phase is their substance. They simply have a lot more constitution. So while they do not offer the fresh, fragrant, and delicate profile of a standard High Mountain Oolong when brewed, they have much more composition. And this composition brews slowly and steadily, with significantly more endurance. We suggest a 1:15 ratio of leaf to water. We used about 11g of tea in the above 175mL Gongfu style teapot.
It starts off with a warming spices/mild savory aroma, and brews a smooth, thick texture, with floral, honey, and tangy notes, and ends with a balanced, sweet/dry, lasting finish. It brews steadily and consistently for several brews. Don't be surprised if the first and second brew are a bit timid. These leaves take a bit of steeping to open up. But those first brews offer their own special introduction into the character of these leaves. The lighter more subtle notes are revealed before the more substantial constitution issues forth.
These leaves were baked at low temperature (80-90*C) for 8 hours, for three sessions, then a shorter fourth session — for a total of nearly 30 hours! This has a significant effect on the flavor profile in terms of transforming any green, grassy character into a more mild, sweeter, pastry-like flavor profile. It also ensures that any remaining moisture in the leaves, and especially stems is removed, which in effect cures the leaves. This means that the flavor profile and nature of the leaves is much more stable, and able to maintain their character over time.
Our Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea is from a certified organic farm located on the periphery of Yushan National Park. Yushan, or Jade Mountain is not only the highest peak in Taiwan, but also in all of east Asia. This farm is the closest developed land to the park, in a remote mountain valley.
This batch of tea was harvested on October 11. They had to stop harvesting by early afternoon due to intermittent showers in this remote valley. Therre were clear skies a short distance away! We are so impressed with this couple's work and the story of how they came to transition their inherited family farm to being certified organic that we are making a documentary video of it. A husband and wife manage this farm that has been fully certified for over 3 years now. They began transitioning to organic ten years ago when they decided to stop using chemical farm products. More about that story in the documentary. Stay tuned!
The tea trees were pruned slightly following the summer harvest in July. So it was a full three months until this harvest. Allowing substantial new growth nourishes the plants and strengthens their root base. Only the growing tips of the new branches were picked by hand.
We can see how naturally these tea trees are allowed to grow. It's a wholly different farming method than conventional farming, and the produce from a farm like this is also next level. In our perception, based on continually visiting tea farms in Taiwan for over 20 years, this source is a rare and precious find. The combination of a pristine geographic location with an ideal micro-climate for tea production, and the natural farming methods are just not to be found. In a word, we love this farm, as well as its caretakers!
Brewing Guide: 9g tea in 300ml 80°C water. Steep for 3 minutes. Re-steep. Adjust to taste.
Cold Brew: Use 7g of tea per liter of water. Brew tea at room temperature for 2-3 hours, and enjoy. Or you can put your cold brew bottle in the fridge to brew overnight and be ready to drink the next day.
Gongfu Brew: Use 9g for a 150ml pot. Use boiling temperature water and brew for about 60 seconds, second brew 50 seconds. Increase brewing time with each successive brew. The leaves can be brewed 8-9 times.